Our advice around appealing the needs (section B) and/or provision (section F) of an EHC plan. This section will also be helpful if you are appealing the school/setting or type of school/setting named – as the contents of the plan are relevant to the appeal.
It’s always a good idea to continue talking to the local authority about your concerns or any questions you have. Further information will help you decide whether to appeal and should you decide to, will be key when building your case.
Before appealing you must firstly consider mediation, this can be really useful for example where:
you would like an opportunity to properly discuss your issues and find out more about how the local authority reached their decision
you have some additional information or a new report you would like to share with the local authority.
the local authority have omitted to include information provided during assessment
you believe further assessment is required to determine needs
It is possible following mediation the local authority will agree to amend the plan or arrange further assessment, therefore avoiding an appeal.
the child’s or young person’s special educational needs;
the special educational provision required by him or her; (37 (2))
Health care provision or social care provision which educates or trains a child or young person is to be treated as special educational provision (instead of health care provision or social care provision). (21 (5))
So what does this mean?
It is really important that sections B and F accurately reflect your child/young person’s Special Educational Needs and Provision, including any related health or care provision which educates or trains your child.
Building your case
Your appeal needs to explain and evidence reasons why you believe it is necessary for the special educational needs and provision to be amended in the EHC plan.
For appeals about the contents of a plan, check that all the special educational needs have been captured in section B and that each need has a corresponding provision in section F. If there has been a recent EHC needs assessment, start by looking at the advice and reports, and cross-reference these with the EHC plan.
It can be helpful to highlight each identified need and each suggested provision within every report you have. Do the same within the EHC plan to see if all the relevant information from the reports has been included in the plan.
See below for some examples of supporting evidence…
Your child/young person’s views
IEP/support plan/pupil passport/provision map
Letters/emails from setting/local authority/health/specialist/’continuing care assessment’
Examples of school or homework (can be helpful where rate of progress is in dispute)
You can request a copy of your child’s school record (you will likely be charged for photocopying)
Second opinion – where you disagree with advice or the recommendations from a professional and if finances allow, you could explore private assessment. Where views of professionals differ each is given equal weight at tribunal.
Consider the local authority (and/or health provider) view
Find out why they do not want to accept your proposed changes and use the opportunity to explain your reasons. Point to evidence and provide copies of reports with highlighted sections to help you explain
You can ask professionals to be your witness, establish whether they can provide a letter, report or witness statement which helps you to evidence your key points. You may, for example, ask that they clarify or expand the information they have provided as part of the assessment.
You could ask if they will come along to the hearing, if they decline you can request a summons for them to attend – before you do this be sure they intend to support your case!
Drafting your appeal
You can write this in full when you first complete the form to make an appeal, or you could summarise what you are appealing to get the appeal lodged, and provide more detailed information at a later stage (be careful of the strict deadlines in this formal legal process).
When setting out your case for the Tribunal, use headings which will help you to keep you on track and make it easier for the Tribunal to understand your issues.
Use numbers to identify each of the key points under each heading (indexing):
Use numbers to identify each of the key points under each heading
Begin with a short summary of the background and lead up to the appeal. Include your child’s views. You could also include a photo of your child.
Indexing page numbers makes it easier to locate your points (e.g. pages 2-5)
2. Proposed changes to sections of the EHC plan
Be clear about which sections of the EHC plan you would like to change and why. Use the general headings from the EHC plan to organise your appeal:
B Special Educational Needs C Health needs D Social care needs F Special Educational Provision G Health provision H1 & H2 Social care provision
Refer to supporting evidence where you can, for example: • Your child/young person’s views • Progress reports • IEP/support plan/pupil passport/provision map • Home/school diaries • Assessment/specialist reports or meeting notes • Exclusion letters/reports • Letters/emails from setting/local authority/health/specialist • Examples of school or homework (can be helpful where rate of progress is in dispute)
Explain where to find the information in your supporting evidence for example ‘Page 5 of the Educational Psychologist’s report says…’
3. Outstanding information.
List any documents or information that you have not been able to obtain before submitting your final evidence. Include details of any requests for this, and any response received.
4. List of Appendices (documents and evidence)
Supporting evidence can be included when you make your appeal, but you will be given a deadline by which to submit final evidence by.
The SEND Tribunal appeal form asks you to list the documents and evidence you have included with your appeal form. This can also be a helpful tracker as you gather additional documents, statements or reports, which you can update and submit with your final evidence
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